The regional Victorian road toll was front and centre at last night's Regional Road Safety forum in Ballarat.
State Roads Minister Jaala Pulford said factors in each crash varied on regional roads, but believes that distractions from mobile phones have been significantly under-reported when it came to crashes.
Last night's forum in Ballarat was the first of eight forums being held at regional locations across the state in the coming months to help curb the state's climbing road toll.
Out of the 162 deaths on Victorian roads this year, 97 have occurred outside of Melbourne, with the road toll 56 per cent higher than this time last year.
Image: Victoria Police